On finding ease and grace in the climate of obligatory indignation

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. Instead be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you. Eph 4:31-32 (Mounce)

Basically, in this little clinic on attitude toward, and interaction with, other people the goal is being “not this,” instead “this.” Sadly, in my opinion, the “not this” largely describes the current social and political climate of our country right now. Anger can feel more powerful than love. Kindness is often cast as weak and ineffectual, or interpreted as not caring enough; so we enter the fray. The boiling unrest in our hearts and minds surfaces and turns mean.

It’s helpful to look up the definitions of the Greek words to get a fuller picture of what is being said.

kind (chrēstos) – easy, good, gracious, benevolent
tenderhearted (eusplanchnos) – compassionate, sympathetic, full of pity
forgive (charizomai) – willingly, freely bestow favor, do a favor, let it go

Not This:
bitterness (pikria) – stinging, caustic, stinking poison, wickedness
wrath (thumos) – outburst of passion, venting rage
anger (orgē) – vengeance, indignation
clamor (kraugē)- outcry, loud crying
blasphemy (blasphēmia) – speaking evil, vilification, damaging speech
malice (kakia) – viciousness, spite

Apparently the “not this” part is also difficult to independently separate from. It has to be removed (airō) from (apo) us by Christ.

remove (airō) – to raise upward, take off what is attached, carry away, to cause to cease
from (apo) – spatial sense of “away” or “apart” 

Sometimes even after a weight has been lifted we can feel as if it’s still pressing down and respond accordingly. Be aware that Christ separates us from this toxic climate and infuses us with His own powerful yet easy confidence that we really can communicate and affect change from His climate of love, kindness, and grace.

Lord, help me to come at every situation and engage in every conversation from Your climate of grace.